Of all the things to do in Tokyo, visiting one of the many parks has been one of the pleasures. One of the best has been Showa Memorial Park in Tachikawa, also known as Showa Kinen Park. It is a large well-cared-for park of about 400 acres in the north-west of Tokyo city about 40 minutes by train from Shinjuku. At only 400yen for adults (half for seniors), it's great value. Of the four entrances to this large park, we found Nishi-Tachikawa station (on the JR Ome line) was best because the exit from the station is connected to the entrance with only a 2-minute walk to the ticket office and gate. With 11 kilometres of cycle paths, we decided to hire a tandem bike and we just had a ball. It was so much fun that we only stopped occasionally to work out where we were on the map, take photos and have a cup of tea at one of the many kiosks located around the park.
The park was host to lots of families, groups, couples with children, dog owners and the usual assortment of keen photographers capturing pretty flowers in bloom. There were many other cyclists too and whilst there was never heavy traffic, it was important to ring the bell when approaching other cyclists from behind (tandems tend to be a bit faster than other bikes - at least on the flat and downhill). The cycle paths are divided for most of the way, and completely separate from the walking paths, making it particularly safe. There were lots of young people enjoying the lake riding or rowing watercraft for hire. The amenities were sufficient and spotless like most in Japan.
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